list making

reading: spiritual rhythm
listening: novus
cooking: jamie oliver’s roast potatoes (we will never go back).

making: flash cards
following: instagram accounts about Ireland
playing: legos

dreaming: about getting back to lamu
eating: lots of udon noodles
wishing: for a zuri dress

waiting: for the printer to finish
hoping: for a work breakthrough
giving: to this

planning: my exam prep
pondering: hebrews 11
praying: for rain. so many people need this water.

learning: to rest
singing: badly
practicing: french grammar

wearing: my bamboo tights
drinking: g&t
writing: a little list

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July book report

I read another four books in July, though I have to say A Little Life was by no means a little book! It’s always a little difficult to get a sense of a book’s length when reading on a Kindle, but Google tells me the print version is a solid 720 pages, probably the longest book I’ve read this year. I’m still lost on how to adequately describe A Little Life – heartbreakingly tender, harrowing, beautifully written, sickening. At times, I couldn’t put it down. At other times, I had to put it down. It is a heavy book and the story touches on some dark subjects, so be warned if you’re after a light hearted holiday read!

However if you are after a light hearted holiday read, I’d recommend Eligible, which I also read in June. It’s fluffy and fun, a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that’s only a little bit cheesy 🙂

My third June read was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It has popped up in my ‘recommended for you’ list on Amazon for ages, but I had no real idea what it was about until I got started (which, if you do want to read this, is the way to go – any pre-reading googling will give a key part of the story away) I thought it was a clever, thought-provoking story, with an interesting premise and great characters.

And on the non-fiction front, I finally read Outliers: The Story of Success. My first Malcolm Gladwell, I think? Fascinating stories and observations, just the kind of social-sciencey type of writing I love most.

Previous book reviews here.

How to: fall asleep

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA© Copyright Jim Champion, licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

A few years ago, my father-in-law told us the best trick to help you fall asleep. It’s like counting sheep, except you only count two of them. One. Two. One. Two. One. Two. Breathe in on one, and breathe out on two. The repetition regulates your breathing and makes you sleepy, and your brain doesn’t have to keep working: ‘496, 497, 498… what comes after 498?

It takes me forever to fall asleep, but this trick has helped me so many times.  I also swear by a few drops of lavender on my pillow, it totally knocks me out.

Do you have any magic sleep-inducing tips?

P.S. – Did you know jasmine is a great ‘wake-up’ scent for the morning – ‘an exquisite perfume which imparts a feeling of optimism’!

the week that’s been

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What are your plans for the weekend? We’re heading off on safari in Amboseli in celebration of Will’s birthday. We’re looking forward to seeing lots of elephants and Mt Kilimanjaro and just enjoying being out on the open plains. Last time we went to Amboseli we saw a hippo eat a hyena, so we’re pretty ready for anything!

Here’s some worthwhile tidbits I’ve found online this week. Sometimes I just really love the internet!

Yum. Grilled peach splits.

And this pear and almond frangipane tart.

DIY lawn games – don’t these look so fun?

I want one of everything from Lauren Christy Jewelry.

The Queensland Ballet is holding classes for the public!

And did you catch the last Strictly Ballet episode?

The expat struggle – oh I laughed at too many of these.

Will has got me hooked on this guy’s music.

Pastors and the ‘F-Word’.

I just finished Americanah. Another great read, though Half of a Yellow Sun is still my favourite.

Dog lovers, you must follow The Dogist.

And 50% off beautiful hair accessories from Grace Designs using the code MOVING50 before Monday!

Making my 365 Days of Laura book

I have a bad habit of excitedly starting a project, but then I get frustrated with it, or forget it, or get distracted (look, something shiny!) and my poor little project never gets finished.365-grateful-book

Like my 365 Days book. I’m pretty sure I started working on it about eight months ago. I patiently downloaded all my photos from my 365 Days of Laura project. I researched various types of photo book software, deciding on Blurb, and downloaded BookSmart on my Mac. I took a few quiet evenings to upload all my photos into the software and started playing with the layout. And then… I got frustrated. And gave up. And then I forgot I even started.

365-grateful-book1I came back to it a few months ago and my frustration returned. I kept changing my mind on how I wanted it to look, and re-editing 365 photos various times was driving me crazy. And then I found this great quote…

Done is better than perfect.

I think that should be my life motto, because perfectionism is a nasty little fella that kicks me around far too often.

So I got stuck back into it, figured out a layout I liked and stuck it through. Plus Will sent me a discount coupon he received via his email, and the prospect of 25% off helped me finally kick it over.

365-grateful-book2365-grateful-book3Of course, I doubt Blurb delivers to Kenya and I don’t have a lot of faith in the postal system here anyway, so I got the book delivered to my folks and won’t get a chance to hold it in my hands for a good few months. But hey. It’s done!

I can officially cross #18 off my birthday list.

laura swanson’s theory of online happiness

And the theory is this..

Using the internet only makes me happy if I am contributing, creating or connecting more than I am consuming.”

Profound, yes? 🙂

The internet can be an endless rabbit warren of social media and new sites and funny videos and intriguing links and before long you realise you’ve spent the last hour completely wasting time. A sneakily addictive slippery little slippery slope.

But! The internet is also a wonderful platform to share your voice, inspire real-life creativity (what’s the point of pinning a cool idea if you never use it in the real world?) and stay connected – especially when your favourites are halfway around the world!

Eat more than you move and you tend to get heavier. Mindlessly click more than you contribute / create / connect and you tend to get weighed down, too.